Go with the flow: Reveil, Apero, repas, siesta, petanque and calins!
Mon Beau Pere: my step-father passed away

Genou: an injury, a day lily, and good company & a Chocolate workshop in France!

Photo taken in our old stomping grounds of Orange.

CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP! Join two chocolate shop owners in Provence, France & learn how to make chocolates using French techniques. We’ll stay in a medieval village and roam outdoor markets, castles, and more! CLICK HERE.

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TODAY'S WORD: le genou

     : knee

ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word: Download Genou

Notre amie Anne s'est blessée au genou.
Our friend Anne hurt her knee.

Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


    by Kristi Espinasse

Anne and Kirk, of Music and Markets Tours, came to visit yesterday. Do you remember them from the post Sobriety Does Not Equal Foolproof Entertaining? Maybe not, as most of the story was focused on those formidable fourmis (ants! and trying to keep ahead of the army which threatened to spoil our lunch here at home).

Well, Anne and Kirk were back! This time for lunch (elsewhere!) at a nearby port. It would be a little challenging for Anne to hike down to the waterfront, as she had injured her knee at an outdoor cinema the other night. But, with her genou now secured by a barrage of Velrco (and looking so pretty in a black and white print dress which matched her knee brace), Anne trooped down to the beach--past scented parasol pine trees, and families picnicking on the pebble beach--for lunch with us at Chez Tonton Ju.


Over carpaccio de boeuf and salade de poisson fumé,  we talked about the recent challenges here at our vineyard--and brainstormed for solutions. Throughout lunch, the couple, who have been married some 40 years, allowed us to vider notre sac, or say what was on our hearts. After, they generously gave examples of their own failures, or échecs--all the while reminding us that what we are going through is not really a failure. That only time could be the judge of that!

Returning to our home, Kirk handed me a gift he had been promising for some time. I looked into the plastic sack and saw a clump of dirt....

"It's the day lily!" Anne smiled.

The famous day lily! The little flower that could! It had made its journey from Kirk and Anne's garden in Virginia--all the way to Aix-en-Provence, where it lived for a time in a quiet courtyard--its leaves caressed each day by the singsong of students rushing to classes--and tourists singing the praises of one of France's favorite towns: The home of Cézanne! The birthplace of our daughter, Jackie! The first garconniere, or bachelor pad, of our son Max. And where I met Jean-Marc, 26 years ago in a nightclub called Le Mistral....

Along with nostalgia, a light breeze swept across our front porch, ruffling our dog, Smokey's whiskers. Standing beside our golden retriever, Kirk got down on his knees to plant the inert clump of dirt, at the base of the grape vine trellis that shades our front porch in summertime. "The day lily will begin to show green shoots, very soon! And the flowers will come out next May or June!" Kirk promised.

"That's almost a year from now...." I whispered. But my next thought I kept to myself, Would the lily be dug up in between time, if our situation changed?

At that moment everything went silent. I guess we were all having the same thought, when suddenly Anne's words swooped in and restored good cheer: "You'd better be here in one year! You are going to see this flower bloom!"

As I finish typing this entry, my eyes are pinched and wet. A blink releases a few unexpected tears. I know the day lily will bloom. The question is where?

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Our 18-year-old, Jackie, keeping her skin protected with a straw hat. More styles here.

Good French moisturizer! My daughter and I continue to use and enjoy this popular French facial moisturizer. Don't miss all the reviews! Click here.

Organic Cover/blemish stick. I use it to cover my facial scars, red rosacea, and to protect my skin from sun damage. It is moist and it smoothes on seamlessly. I sometimes use it in place of base. I love it! I use "ivory" even in summer. But there is "honey" tone too. Click here.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Trudy Ramirez

I have a mantra that I use with myself that I find to be very settling, which is All Is Well. I say it to myself when I can see when it's true and also when I can't, because I know that it's always true, whether I can see it or not. I know that you and Jean Marc will wirk out the challenges you are facing in the best way possible. Sometimes it's necessary to hold on and fight for something, and sometimes it's necessary to let go. Only you know what is best in your situation. But, wherever you are a year from now, All Will Be Well...whatever that looks like. Whatever your challenges look like now, they will look different in a year's time. You can do this. All is Well.


I agree with Trudy! All will be well! Breathe, life, one day at a time. This is a bump in the road. Trust and keep moving forward even though the road is dark. You have come through so much! All your friends and readers are with you in thought and prayer!


I found this for you and for your friends who live in France, Kristi :)


I am praying that you make the right decision for your future. I do feel strongly though that, at the moment, you are where God wants you to be (((big-big-hugs)))

Lis Steeden

Dear Kristin & Jean-Marc,

Next year when the little Day Lily flower, you will be where it was planted just recently! You have both achieved sooo much, Graham and I were amazed when we saw what you have achieved in the time since we last visited your wonderful place, I know it's easy for anybody not being in your place to say, you can do it, but if anybody can do, we brlieve, very much, you can!

Graham will be here all the time as of sometime in September, so if we can go anything at our end,nfon't be shy...that is how you make new friends...honestly, it might not be much, but if we can...just help a little bit...let us know x

PS! We've run out of your wonderful olive oil and G wants to try that rosé...so, once the music festival is over, the B&B has calmed down, and G has installed himself here,mwe'll come down and bother you in the nicest possible way...Bon courage ❤️🇫🇷


Sending you blessings and courage and fortitude to make the best decision possible for your life situation going forward. Everyone you have touched, both near and far, are cheering you on.


Why are you thinking about leaving your home that you have worked so hard on?


Dear Kristi: I missed the email where you might have talked about why you would be leaving. Sending good thoughts, good energy, and prayers your way.

Moisturizer you mentioned has propyl glycol and fragrance in it, so not sure that you want to put it on your skin. But it may be that good. Organic coconut oil is also good. Or the natural products from Juice Beauty, Gwenyth Paltrow's line.

Much love from Redondo Beach, currently by way of Romania, Lorrie

Nancy Stilwagen

I see you are going through difficult times, Kristin. One of the most powerful things I have read is this: Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success. You can't have one without the other. Sometimes reframing the situation can help.


I guess I missed the writing about the paoblaems also. Any reference?

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. For those who asked why we might not continue here, I wrote about Jean-Marc being worn out, at the end of this post:

Delia Bourne

Beautifully written blog. Bon Courage. x

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

It seems the day lily has already bloomed in your heart!

Your story reminds me of the saying, "Bloom where you are planted". You and Jean-Marc have already succeeded at that during your years together. Whatever it has taken to bring you to today will most likely carry you forward. And you will be okay...

Leslie NYC

Dear Kristi,
Your writing and candor move me.
I think there are a dozen ways to answer the question "How are you?" to ourselves and others. I could say today "I'm fine. I am healthy, no aches, on vacation, with enough money for the month." I could also say that I feel broken, in need of direction and healing and don't know if I will find these now, when I need them. These and other answers are all true. I love, as many did, John Hawke's response to the post above about being involved in something that will go on for generations and never be finished, of letting go of control, expectation, perfectionism.
If life is about doing what we can with an unknown amount of time, I would say you and Jean-Marc have been riotously successful! What if success looks like all the hills and valleys you have crossed? Others don't see all of your vulnerabilities and specific challenges, but maybe strangers also are more able to see the big picture when they react positively to your lives. You have love, you have created and sought out beauty, you pursue your individual and joint dreams, you are involved with family, friends, neighbors, strangers, customers, colleagues. You are young, beautiful, hard-working, full of gratitude. You live in a lovely area, which was brutally attacked last month, and which may have shaken you as it did the world, but which will recover. I believe these are true. I wish you help with what ails you.
Bon courage to you both.
Love, Leslie

Cheryl in STL

The day lily is a very resilient plant. It appears to me that you are as well. Trusting God to lead you and Jean-Marc to the best place for both of you (and the day lily) to flourish.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Kristi,listen to your readers. Sometimes we all get so caught up in our own lives we can't clearly find the best direction to take. You have an incredible support group; listen to them if possible. Ultimately the choice is yours -- do what will make you two happy. And you know that we'll always, always help you and JM if ever you ask.

joie in Carmel

I no more believe in the word "failure" as I do "perfect". Both need to be abolished from any language. In both cases one has to continue to strive for the next level. So I leave you with these words:

When it rains, look for rainbows.
When it's dark, look for stars.

And next year, watch the day lily bloom right where it was planted.

many hugs....

Suzanne Dunaway

Kristin, please tell me you are not thinking of moving! I hope so much that you stay exactly where you are in your amazingly personal and beautiful mas with vines growing and the lily blooming.

Petrina in Brittany

Just to say: Love & hugs and thinking about you all.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Whatever your hearts direct you to do, Kristi and Jean-Marc, you can handle. All of your experiences thus far prove that resilience is yours, whether or not that is apparent to you whilst troubling times are happening. All the wise adages to do with the challenges of disruptive change are true, I've found: the fellow humans who shared them out of their own hearts, souls, and lives KNEW: 'this too shall pass' as matters unfold. Growth hurts, and when it feels like failure, it's truly NOT that; it's the tug of life. We are here to listen, understand, and above all to reassure and sustain our beloved friends les Espinasses. Besides, we'll follow you anywhere.


I love Jackie's freckles!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

It's seems all's been said. Various posts - Nancy S., Chris A., Leslie in NYC - I heard myself say 'Amen to that' or 'ditto.' I know you and J-M will bloom wherever you're planted. May God's blessings pour upon you.

Glenda Barnhart

Kristin, your photos are remarkable --- you are able to catch the 'essence' of each view.
Would you ever consider the possibility of publishing a book of your photos with a caption under each. That would take me back to my happy French memories.
Glenda C.

Leslie in Oregon

Prayers and best wishes surround you as you and Jean-Marc unravel the challenges and figure out what to do in response to them. I remember what it was like to be overwhelmed and exhausted in every way by the unending and frustrating work of the business I had created. If there any way any of us can help in a more concrete way, please put the word out.

Kristin Espinasse

Jean-Marc and I are so touched by every comment. You are all angels! Thank you. Thank you!


Kristin, I don't have anything to add to everyone else's comments other than so much love and concern surrounds you no matter what you decide and where you may live. Sending you prayers and a warm hug to both of you!

Mary and Rod Neely

Dear Kristie, we have been reading your blog for so long Your have shared your family with us...You feel like a part of our family...Like our own children. We wish we could somehow soothe your concerns for your future. The love for you family jumps off your writings and into our hearts. As two people who have lived a long life with ups and downs we can assure you your love will sustain you. We hope to see you in September. Hugs, Mary and Rod Neely


"Is wishing so only to interfere with destiny?"
Destiny is what you make it; it's not preordained.
Sheila in Port Townsend

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Another 5 year plan? For me, it is hard to imagine doing all the work and not staying more years to see it all work out. The vines, the olives, the almonds, and the permaculture garden. I never lived a farming life, so I cannot know all the issues, but I do hope a plan emerges to keep you in this lovely home, watch the vines produce, without overworking you both. Do French farmers have hired help? It is all so different where you are, compared to the farms around me, field corn & soybeans for miles on huge farms with huge equipment. They say it is how to feed the nation and the world, large scale, but I like to think there are better ways, especially for special foods like what you grow. Well, it is good you gather your wise friends about you as you two figure out how to keep life good and productive yet somehow not draining.

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

Your dear wise friends, Anne and Kirk, brought you a very symbolic gift in the form of a lily. This lily has several common names but the two I like the best are resurrection lily or surprise lily. In early spring its leaves appear, grow and then die back in June. In late summer or September the lily again appears as a single stalk and blooms in four or five days. It truly is a surprise to see this lily bloom directly from the bare earth without a sign of leaves! The decisions you are working through just now will have a solution with a natural and right timing in your lives just as this wonderful lily does each season.

So, know that you have love and support from near and far, not to mention your great family. As always, I send my best wishes.


I came across a quote this week that seems appropriate to share with you, "I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars." Have courage and notice how many people love and support you.

Ellen A.

Leslie NYC is very wise, and said it all for me. You both may be more affected than you realize for a while by the tragedy of Nice.
Beyond that, kindest wishes and support from all your cyber friends and from the Angels.
Ellen in B.H.

Audrey Wilson

So many wonderful comments that i can't really add to the thoughts expressed above . To me though the day lily is an omen .It will thrive & so will you I feel sure.


Yes, I read that post, but did not read into it so dire an outcome. Woeking with and against nature is sometimes overwhelming. Farmers et al are the hardiest and often most hopeful
Of all humans.

Diane Dainis

Oh Kristi, your day lily will bloom next year and it doesn't matter where. You and Jean Marc are an inspirations for all of us. Life is not an easy road. It's a roller coaster! But you've weathered it all with such grace. I just became aware this year that my son is fighting his battle with alcoholism. You give me hope and ease my heart when I think of what you've accomplished. Everything will turn out just the way it is meant to be for you. You have all of us praying and cheering you on!


Hear! Hear, Leslie! Your comment is exqusitely written and insightful.

You've expressed what so many- if not all of Kristi's readers/admirers- have come to recognize about La Famille Espinasse: their life is imbued with beauty, talent, passion, perseverance and love.

Kristi, JeanClaude and I join my fellow New Yorker and all of your commenters in wishing you and Jean-Marc lots of emotional strength and fortitude as you mull over your next steps.

And JeanClaude adds: "Ayez la frite!"


You said it all, Leslie NYC- beautifully stated.


What more can I add to all the comments above? Several years ago, when I was going through a challenging time, I was browsing in a shop that sold scented candles. My eye wandered toward a figurine of a beautiful angel, asleep on a rock. On that rock is imprinted 'All is as it should be.' I bought the figurine (on sale) as a gift for myself and keep it on my nightstand to remind me, in difficult times, that there is no need to burden myself with worry. I can release the anxiety and remember to trust that, indeed, all is as it should be, and will continue to be well. The turbulence is bound to pass, hopefully sooner than later. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts.


Well said, Leslie! It bears repeating: "What if success looks like all the hills and valleys you have crossed? Others don't see all of your vulnerabilities and specific challenges, but maybe strangers also are more able to see the big picture when they react positively to your lives."


This. Perfectly said.

Wishing Jean Marc and you peace, energy, resilience. Sending love.

elizabeth Taza

I CANNOT SLEEP, And here I am reading French Word A Day, Only to have also tears in my eyes. I am so sad for you all. But, try to be positive and you know things will turn out ok. At this hour our beautiful cat Junior is dying. He started with Dementia in August and has gone down hill so fast, Junior will soon pass onto the next world in his sleep under our bed in his own surroundings and will be placed in his favorite spot in our garden.

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